Farmers in Arodoye, an agrarian community located near Akure, the Ondo State capital, have appealed to the state and the federal government to come to their aid and bring an end to the attacks by herdsmen who according to them, usually destroy their farmland.
They made the appeal, following an attack by the suspected herdsmen whom the farmers claim invaded plantations including cassava, cocoa, cocoyam and oil palm, cut them down to feed their cattle and set the rest on fire.
Narrating their ordeal to Channels Television, some of the residents explained that the most pathetic aspect of the situation is that the herdsmen attacked a middle aged woman in her farm house, killed her, cut her into pieces and took always some vital organs of her body.
The traditional head of the community, Idowu Fasuyi told Channels Television that his own farm was not spared in the attacks.
He said: “The herdsmen have been coming to attack us here every year for four years now. They destroyed all my farms and even set them ablaze. I always tell my people not to confront them because we do get news from radio and television how they attack people.
Many farmers and residents have deserted this area for fear of being attacked. We appeal to state and federal governments to help us”.
Another victim of the attacks, Michael Chinedu expressed sadness over the incident. He said the herdsmen destroyed all his farms to feed their cattle. He said he lost thousands of naira to the attacks and he has nothing left.
“The herdsmen attack was uncalled for, they destroyed all our farms and used our cassavas to feed their cattle. I spent more than 200 thousand naira on my farm, and now I have nothing left. I’m bleeding inside now. We used to sleep here for up to two weeks, but ever since the attack we cannot sleep here again. They attack a woman here in her house at night; they cut her into pieces and took away her private parts, breast and heart”.
Another resident, Elizabeth Samuel whose cassava farm was allegedly destroyed by the herdsmen, estimated her loss to about N500,000.
She appealed to government for help because according to her, the money invested in the farm was a loan.
“We use the cassava we plant to train my children in school, now nothing is left and we can’t pay their school fees again. My husband got a loan of N500,000 to do this farm, they are threatening to arrest him now as he can’t repay the loan. I want government to pity us and help us out.”
The attacks by herdsmen which has become widespread across states in Nigeria have led to loss of many lives and property, a situation many Nigerian say needs to be addressed urgently.